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Lowry Turns Sod On Major €25m Thurles Development

Independent TD, Deputy Michael Lowry turned the first sod, on Monday of this week, (January 27th, 2020) on a major new development that will mark the dawn of a bright new future for Thurles.

The derelict Erin Foods factory is about to become a hive of activity as demolition work starts to level the site; same which will house a new high-end model flagship store for Lidl Ireland, as well as two 30,000 square foot buildings that will form the Thurles Business and Innovation Centre.

The project will also facilitate the future development of the town as a whole, by providing the first phase of the much anticipated Thurles Inner Relief Road that will link Slievenamon Road to Mill Road. The total value of the project is €25million and Deputy Lowry says that it is the start of a new beginning for Thurles.

The Business and Innovation Centre project, which has full Planning Permission now in place, is a joint partnership between Wesley Quirke of Baycross Developments Ltd., and Castletown Capital Ltd.

Lidl Ireland unlocked the potential of the site, recognising its strategic location in close proximity to the town centre and its suitability to develop a flagship store on a 2.5 acre area of the site. This led to further interest in the site and a decision by this joint partnership to come on board to build the two 30,000 square foot buildings, creating an amazing opportunity to attract new business into the town.

The Centre will be fully equipped with all the services required and will be appealing to companies involved in Research and Development, science, pharmaceuticals, technology, call centres or as a Headquarters for a Public Service office, indeed the potential is vast.

The developers themselves have identified a very lucrative tenant for a part of the building with the potential for job creation and are in discussions with other potential businesses.

Deputy Lowry has confirmed that IDA Ireland has visited this fully serviced site and have listed the Business and Innovation Centre on their books and will actively pursue future tenants for the high-spec premises. The IDA is very impressed with its potential to attract inward investment from businesses seeking centrally located ready-to-go premises in the heart of Ireland.

“Up to now one of the main challenges for job creation in Thurles was the lack of suitable accommodation. This new development addresses that challenge and marks a major progression for the town. It’s a big vote of confidence in Thurles and it would not have happened if Lidl had not made the first move to secure part of the site for their new store”.

Mr Lowry stated that the event on Monday was a hugely significant day for Thurles. He added that it is wonderful to see the former Erin Foods site active again, having lain idle for so long.

Wesley Quirke, Baycross Developments, said “The project will rejuvenate Thurles, which is one of the best known towns in Ireland”. He further stated “The Business and Innovation Centre will guarantee additional jobs for Thurles and will be a major boost to the local economy”.

Ms. Laura Mateo from Castletown Capital said that they are very pleased to be involved in such an innovative project for Thurles, which opens up huge potential for the town in terms of attracting new business and creating jobs. She also stated “It is a pleasure to work on the Business and Innovation Centre project, in partnership with the Quirke family, as it is a development that will have a big impact on Thurles well into the future”.

Demolition of the former Erin Foods site is set to get underway immediately. Local business, Premier Engineering, who employ 40 people, will carry out this work with Company Director Adrian O’Keefe saying that they are really proud to be involved in this local project.

The old building contains a large amount of asbestos, hence the engagement of reputable specialist contractors, who will carry out the demolition and disposal of these materials to the highest International standards.

Completion of demolition work
The completion of demolition work is expected to take up to 12 weeks, followed by site preparation works and the commencement of construction of a new site entrance, forming the initial phase of the Inner Relief Road. As an additional feature of the project, significant improvement to the river walkway at the rear of the site will be carried out.


Amazing Turnout For Campaign Launch Of Michael Lowry

There was an amazing number of supporters turned out at the Anner Hotel on Friday night last, (January 24th 2020), for the Official General Election Campaign Launch by Independent TD Michael Lowry.

Deputy Lowry said that he is eternally grateful for the energy and enthusiasm that people bring to his campaign. “I’m as good as you make me”, he told the huge gathering and he pledged that, if re-elected, he will “continue to listen, to be constructive, to be positive, to make a difference and to get results. I know the issues facing Tipperary“, he stated, “and experience has taught me how to address them”.

Deputy Lowy said that he was asked by a young girl recently what it was like to be a candidate in a General Election, something that has rarely been asked of him before. He revealed that, even though he has been a candidate many times, he still feels the pressure to ensure that everything is done right, during a campaign and that he is so thankful to the many capable people who help him, organise things for him and work so enthusiastically on his behalf.

Mr Lowry became visibly upset at the fact that his brother, Ned, who has been a central part of his past campaigns, is unable due to ill health, to be involved on this occasion and he wished him well.

Deputy Lowry spoke on the many major issues dominating this Campaign and acknowledged that people are very engaged during this Election. He addressed the issues regarding health, particularly in relation to access to hospitals and step down beds. He spoke of his work to ensure that Nenagh Hospital remained open when it was under real threat of closure, as well as his success in securing funding to bring the new 40 bed fully staffed unit to South Tipperary General Hospital, despite people saying it would never happen. Mental Health, Home Care Packages and a National Strategy to reduce suicide where also identified as major priorities.

With a myriad of issues addressed by Guest Speakers at the Launch, Deputy Lowry chose to focus on two very topical and critical ones affecting the lives of people.

He spoke in detail about the fact that older and elderly people are living in fear. In relation to the proposals to raise the age at which people will qualify for the State Pension to 67, he said he will oppose and resist such a change. He addressed the truth that elderly people are living in fear of becoming ill and facing gruelling times on hospital trollies, quick discharge from hospital and no Health Care Packages to assist them, when they return home. He stated that “the Golden Years that older and elderly people worked towards are becoming a time to dread and a far cry from what they had expected they would be. They are not happy and content – they are worried and afraid. I am totally committed to standing up and fighting for their rights”.

Deputy Lowry also raised the subject of substance abuse, particularly amongst the young and vulnerable members of our communities. He spoke of the pattern of some young people not being fully mature, being easily led and being manipulated, which in turn leads them to experiment with drugs and this becomes a habit leading to addiction. He again welcomed the news that, following his representations, Jigsaw will soon be opening it’s Tipperary base in Thurles, with hubs following for both Roscrea and Clonmel. This will provide a free, confidential and fully professional service to support the mental health and well-being of people aged 12-25, ensuring they get help when and where they need it. He also announced that Tipperary will be allocated more Gardaí, following the next passing out in Templemore and that he will continue to demand an extension to the Garda Drugs Unit.

The Deputy said that he attributes his political success to date to the fact that he always takes a positive approach. He said he hears other politicians whinge and moan but come up with no solutions. “I chose the positive, can-do approach as my path and the reason I deliver is that I have the political instinct to do the right thing for people”.

He concluded, “I believe in people, I believe in communities, I believe in volunteerism and people giving of themselves to help others. Nothing gives me greater personal satisfaction than helping people. As you are all aware I have been under pressure for the past 20 years but the people of Tipperary and their unfailing support have kept me going. I am a constituency politician and I take whatever opportunity I can in Government formation to get the best I can for Tipperary – Tipperary has always been and will always be my priority. I need your support – this is a tough Election. Other politicians and their canvassers are telling people I will coast home and that I don’t need their No.1 Vote.”

The truth is that I need your No. 1 vote as much, if not more than ever, this time round to allow me to continue my work for Tipperary and I need you to spread that message so that people are not misled. Together we can make great communities in a great county”, Deputy Lowry concluded


Lowry Unveils Plans For €5M Fethard Town Park

Fethard is set to become the envy of towns across the country with the announcement this week that funding is now fully in place for a €5million Town Park with an amazing package of facilities.

Deputy Michael Lowry secured the sum of €2.6m under the Governments Regeneration Fund, the largest allocation of funding ever granted under this scheme.

This funding is being matched by Mr. John Magnier, who wishes to leave a legacy project to the town he loves and where his world renowned Coolmore Stud is based. Groundworks will commence in June of this year and the projected completion of Phase 1 will be January 2022.

Locals gathered in the Town Hall to hear details of the 22 acre project, which received full Planning Permission in July of last year, and there were ripples of excitement as they heard details of the Town Park, which will be a community recreational facility in the very heart of the town with a particular focus on health and wellbeing.

It will include a 2.5km perimeter walkway/running track, a Community Pavilion that includes a multi-use community hub with intergenerational hall, a community-commercial gym and café, health consultation rooms, changing rooms, showers etc. A popular inclusion is a much needed routeway for pedestrians and cyclists through the Town Park from the residential area at Strylea to the education facilities at Rocklow Road.

A very popular inclusion is a full-sized All-Weather Pitch that incorporates multidimensional playing fields for all codes and recreational uses. The amenity facilities include a variety of community amenity resources including an Adventure Playground, Sensory Garden, outdoor classroom, dog park, outdoor fitness equipment and there will also be an Open Parkland and Public Space with grassland and natural landscaping including seating and lighting.

Addressing the gathering at the announcement of the details of the project, Deputy Michael Lowry said that it is a truly amazing project, the scale and scope of which is unmatched in any part of Ireland, and he was delighted to have secured €2.6million in funding for it. He praised and thanked the Magnier family for their generosity and for leaving this legacy to the town, which became home to John Magnier in 1975.

“As soon as John Magnier heard about the Government funding he wanted to be involved. He wanted to be involved and put his stamp on it to make sure this project would be a centre of excellence for Fethard and all the surrounding communities. Nothing has been spared or overlooked. Everyone in the town has bought into the project by having their say in what was wanted and needed, it has full Planning Permission and the support of Tipperary County Council”, stated Lowry

Recalling the meetings he had with Government on securing funding, Deputy Lowry said “Negotiations went from no hope, to possible, to over the line”.

He recalled the day that Minister Michael Ring came to Fethard to announce the funding and the anticipation it created. He also acknowledged the incredible support he has received from Maurice Moloney at Coolmore Stud and the amazing work carried out by Caroline Madden, Strategic Planning and Project Consultant who designed the plan for the Town Park.

Mr Lowry continued, “A project of this magnitude could not happen without partnership and this project shows partnership at its best”.
He complimented Fethard Regional Community Sport and Recreational Campus CLG, which is the Development Company and Operator, along with their partners Tipperary County Council, Coolmore Ireland, Cashel and Emly Diocese, Healthy Ireland, local schools and clubs and groups and the community of Fethard.


Lowry – “New Proposals Could See Major Cuts To Special Education”

“Closure of special schools; special classes and cuts in SNA allocations will hurt pupils of all abilities, especially those with complex needs”. – Michael Lowry TD. (Election Launch, Friday January 24th, 2020).

There are 516 candidates running for just 159 seats, in 39 constituencies, in this upcoming Irish General Election.

Yet, to date, only a few outgoing TD’s appear to be aware of disastrous new policies for special education proposed by the National Council for Special Education.

Last night, at a packed election launch by Tipperary Independent TD Mr. Michael Lowry, some startling facts were publicly highlighted by Ms Lorraine Lowry (Principal of Scoil Chormaic, Cashel); same facts which Deputy Lowry stated he will strenuously oppose.

Ms Lorraine Lowry explained in detail to the large assembled gathering, what we the public, can expect with regard to the future of special education in Ireland, if the National Council for Special Education get their way.

New ideas suggesting the future of special education in Ireland have been detailed in a recent National Council for Special Education (NCSE) progress report.

Firstly Note: The NCSE were set up in 2003, by the then Minister for Education and Science. Their purpose; to ‘improve the delivery of Education Services to persons with special educational needs’.
Their recent progress report and the new model for special education, that they suggest should be put in place, have many in the field of education questioning whether or not it is the Department of Finance that is actively involving itself in prescribing our Education system, rather than those charged to do so within the National Council for Special Education itself.
Read what the NCSE are promising our children at the following link: – https://ncse.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/NCSE-An-Inclusive-Education-A5-Proof-07WEB.pdf

Plans are afoot to close Irish Special Schools and Special Needs Classes.

The new ideas proposed by the NCSE, include the complete closure of (A) Special classes, (B) Special schools and (C) a reduction in Special Needs Assistants (SNA’s) as part of the introduction to Ireland of ‘The New Brunswick Model’.

The ‘New Brunswick Model’ comes from Canada and as part of their system, there are no special schools or classes for pupils with special needs. The NCSE argue that the ‘New Brunswick Model’ is superior, with students getting access to therapists and psychologists in their schools and teachers getting more training and support from outside agencies.

Those directly responsible in the day to day running of schools, however, argue that the ‘New Brunswick Model’ would be a total disaster if introduced. As it stands, children with special needs sit on waiting lists for months if not years for access to therapies and assessments. It is worth noting that as highlighted in a recent Irish Times article, the Premier of New Brunswick Blaine Higgs, has also called the educational system in New Brunswick ‘a disaster’.
See link: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/is-ireland-ready-for-a-total-inclusion-approach-for-special-education-1.4109360

Read also attached CBC link : Inclusion model a ‘race to the bottom,’ says policy expert

Plans to cut SNA jobs.
The government cannot justify taking away SNA’s, special schools and special classes until it addresses the lack of therapists and services available to schools and pupils with special needs. The reduction in SNA’s will come through a new ‘front-loaded model’ of SNA allocation, already expected to begin in September 2020.

The government will use a profiling system, involving ‘algorithms’ and ‘statistics’ to estimate what a school should get.
If introduced, this will spell disaster for all schools and in particular small schools and the rural and minority populations they represent.

Regrettably, a profiling system has already been introduced for the allocation of special education teaching hours and pupils and schools are not benefiting; with small schools among the worst affected. Why can’t the government allocate resources and SNA’s based on actual need, rather than algorithms and statistics? Are educational decisions being totally motivated by budget constriction?

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.

The government will try to convince you that since 2011 they have increased investment in ‘Special Education’. That is technically true, but what the government neglects to mention is that from 2008 to 2010, during the recession, there were shameful cuts in funding for special education.

Our children need better – stop covering up our budget limitations.

Our educational system is not perfect, but what we have we understand and up until now they were attempting to move in the right direction. Ireland is known internationally for its high-quality educationalists and its traditions around family and local community. Parents and teachers work closely together here in Tipperary and other counties, in order to supplement the lack of educational funding. Go down to Dunnes Stores here in Thurles Shopping Centre any weekend and you will most likely see parents and teachers fundraising together, ‘bag packing’ for their schools and their children. We all know that money is not there for everything, but stop covering this fact up with ‘algorithms’ for estimates, new idiotic ‘models’ and other ‘ideology’. Let us talk about reality and let us talk directly to parents and teachers and grant our children and our schools, what they actually need.

Talk to your local TD’s – the very few who are truly listening.

Ahead of this 2020 General Election start talking to your public representatives. Awaken them to the knowledge regarding these cuts and inform them that we the electorate will not be fooled by ‘models’ and ‘algorithms’. Ask them why they are supporting the cutting of funding to special education; closing special schools; special classes and cutting SNA jobs? Ask them what they intend to do to stop this threatened outrage?

We are aware from Michael Lowry’s election launch last night, that we can expect his support and strong voice, loudly opposing any such cuts, as he consistently listens to what his constituents, on the ground, are stating.


Tipperary Woman, On Courageous Cancer Journey, Nominates Michael Lowry

In the midst of a hectic General Election campaign, sometimes heart-warming things can happen.

Such was the case for Michael Lowry on Monday of this week when a truly incredible lady came forward to offer to formally nominate him to contest the upcoming General Election.

Pictured L-R: Mrs Geraldine Callanan, Mr Michael Lowry TD, Mr Philip Kinane (Director of Elections), and Mr James Seymour (County Returns Officer).

This touching gesture came from Tipperary’s Geraldine Callanan, a woman that Michael Lowry describes as one of the most inspirational people he has ever met and a woman of amazing courage and strength.

Geraldine was diagnosed in 2017 with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes and lungs. This devastating diagnosis was made all the more poignant by the fact that Geraldine was only sixteen months married and had just welcomed her precious baby son Kevin into this world.

Geraldine’s story makes for heart-breaking reading. This vibrant young woman underwent the shock of discovering a breast lump while showering, the ordeal of endless tests and endless days and weeks of waiting for diagnostic results, the heartbreak and fear of being told she had cancer, the trauma her diagnosis brought to her husband and family and the knowledge that, what should have been the best time in her life, had turned into worst imaginable.

Geraldine began her treatment with a course of chemotherapy, which finished on her 31st birthday and resulted in some improvements. This was followed by ongoing treatment with a chemo tablet and, some months later, by a mastectomy and a five-week course of radiotherapy. After this extensive treatment, Geraldine was told she was cancer free, however she was also made aware that her condition was treatable but not curable and she knows she must be ready to fight again if or when it ever re-occurs.

Throughout her treatment Geraldine was keenly aware of the fact that the treatments she was receiving would not have been possible without a great deal of medical research into breast cancer. “Without research I would not be alive today” she says. This led to her involvement with The National Breast Cancer Research Institute in Galway and her desire to help their work by raising much needed funds.

Geraldine decided to host a Coffee Evening last October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Having met Michael Lowry at another event prior to her diagnosis, she decided to ask him to help promote her event. His response was instant, and he immediately got behind the event.

What started out as a small event exploded and the ‘Coffee Evening’ raised the staggering final sum of almost €40,000, with all proceeds being donated to the Breast Cancer Research Institute.

Both Geraldine and the Institute were overwhelmed and Geraldine says she will be forever grateful to Michael Lowry for the help and support he gave her with the event. She hoped that someday she would be able to do something to publicly acknowledge Michael’s help and that opportunity arose when she signed his Nomination Papers in the presence of the Deputy, the County Returns Officer James Seymour and Deputy Lowry’s Director of Elections Philip Kinane in Clonmel on Monday afternoon.

It was a special moment for Geraldine and a very memorable one for Deputy Lowry, who says he was deeply honoured that Geraldine travelled to Clonmel for such a significant part of the Election Campaign. “Geraldine is a true inspiration to all women who encounter cancer. She has reached out to help others by sharing her experience and by organising such a successful event for the Research Unit at Galway Hospital”, Mr Lowry stated.

Geraldine paid tribute to the “phenomenal help and support” she had received from Deputy Lowry, when he heard about her fundraiser and said it was an honour for her to nominate him and she wished him every success in his upcoming election.